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Kendra 'Vie Boheme' Dennard presents final installment of 'Viva: BLACK' trilogy

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Kendra “Vie Boheme” Dennard began her performing career with quite a dancer splash. Upon college graduation she became a member of the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble (now Reed Dance), a “Top 25” company in the nation, according to Dance Magazine.

In the midst of her three year stint with the company, she also gained a local following as a talented vocalist. Naturally, she wanted to combine those skills. Before working with TU Dance in Minnesota, she produced two shows that did just that.

In “Viva: BLACK” parts one and two, Dennard researched black female artists throughout American history, with thoughtful examination. She then choreographed, staged and performed each show as a tribute to the women she studied. Each performance featured live music, video projection, group and solo dance, and singing.

Part 3, the final segment of the trilogy, will run for two nights next weekend at the Alloy Studios in Friendship. In this even smaller and more intimate performance, Dennard will offer the same fusion of movement, song and theatrics. This time, though, the show will focus on how the iconic women she examined have influenced her own artistic identity.

“The initial idea was to create a fusion character with these different women, exploring the road blocks in their careers,” Dennard says. “But because my career is just budding, I had questions about myself artistically...I decided instead to reflect on how I see myself as a performer.”

As part of her personal reflection, Dennard decided to write new music for the show, inspired by masters like Josephine Baker, Betty Davis, Nina Simone and more. She says the show will take a look at “all that has been revealed" to her while working on the series.

Because she splits her time between Pittsburgh and St. Paul, and created the final installment from out of town, the performance will be a mostly one-woman show. If anyone can carry an entire evening on her own, it’s Dennard. Call her an “old soul,” or simply “multitalented,” but she was made to perform.

And in a day and age when many high paid performers lip sync and attempt to dance but fall short, the level of sophistication in Dennard’s work is not only a throwback to some of the late greats, but a much needed step forward in a generation that often lacks in quality song and dance. Be sure not to miss “Vie” in what she does best - unique and skilled entertainment.

In addition to the two nights of shows, Dennard will be hosting an interactive workshop open to the community (non-performers and performers are welcome). She plans to watch and discuss video footage of different genres of music, then explore movement possibilities. See below for performance and workshop dates, times, cost and details.

What: “Viva: BLACK (Who is Vie Boheme?)” Part 3 of the trilogy performance

When: December 13th and 14th at 8:00 p.m.

Where: Alloy Studios in Friendship

Cost: $15, click HERE for tickets

What: Viva: BLACK Interactive Workshop

When: December 10th (exploring 1920s-1969) and December 11th (exploring 1970s-today)

6:30-8:00 p.m. both nights

Where: Alloy Studios in Friendship

Cost: $10, click HERE to reserve a spot

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